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Substitute For Shrimp- Which One Should You Choose?

Deciding not to eat shrimp anymore is totally understandable. However, you might still crave a shrimp-like taste or texture. But it’s quite difficult to find the right substitute for shrimp. Nonetheless, it’s not impossible.

So, what is a good substitute for shrimp

Firstly, if you’ve got a shellfish allergy, firm fish or chicken can be alternatives. King oyster mushrooms, sweet potatoes or tofu is a great vegetarian choice. Lastly, if you’re a non-vegetarian, you’ve got options like scallops, langoustine tails, etc.

Now, we’ve tried our best to help you to pick the right substitute. Thus, if you’ve got some time, stay with us till the end!

What Is the Right Substitute for You?

Many people look for shrimp alternatives due to many reasons just like they look for tiger sauce alternatives. And obviously, you’ve got a particular reason too. 

The reasons can be shellfish allergy, dietary, watching cholesterol levels and so on. People even stop eating shrimp because they are pissed at the shrimp industry. Simply put, they have become vegetarian.

Some choose to stop because of financial problems. Because let’s face it, shrimps can be hella pricey sometimes. Another reason can be people find shrimp hard to peel.

Nonetheless, don’t worry, my friend. No matter what your problem with shrimp is, you can find a suitable alternative. Maybe you won’t get that exact shrimp taste or appearance. But hey, it’s better than nothing, right!

That’s why we’ve divided the substitutes according to different preferences beforehand-

Factors Diet Similar Taste Similar Texture
Allergic To Shellfish Vegetarian  Fake plant-based shrimp Tofu, king oyster mushrooms, sweet potatoes, fake plant-based shrimp
  Non-vegetarian  None Chicken, firm white fish.
Not Allergic To
Vegetarian Fake plant-based shrimp  Tofu, king oyster mushrooms, sweet potatoes, fake plant-based shrimp
  Non-vegetarian Scallops, crayfish, langoustine, lobster tails, crab legs, lobster meat. Langostino tails, Surimi, octopus, squid, abalone steaks, lobster meat, monkfish, chicken, firm white fish.

Now that you know the alternatives, you can look into the details.

Top-notch Vegetarian Substitute for Shrimp

If you’re a vegetarian, you might not get many shrimp substitutes. So yeah your options are limited. 

However, we’ve gathered the best vegan shrimp alternatives which are easy to cook and find. Let’s check them out, shall we?

Substitutes that Match the Shrimp Texture

The texture of shrimp varies from recipes to recipes. But the texture of cooked shrimp is often known to be firm, crunchy, and a little soft. 

Thus, according to that texture, we’ve come up with two vegan shrimp substitutes-

Soft Tofu to the Rescue

Now, soft tofu is a great choice for vegetarians. Therefore, it can easily replace shrimp. Don’t go for firm tofu, it is not recommended for this purpose.  

However, make sure to use the tofus that are cut into cubes. The tofus should also be pressed and drained perfectly. 

Good quality tofu is essential to get the perfect shrimp texture. On that note, we’ve gathered the top-quality soft tofu-

  1. CJ Cupbahn Cooked Rice Bowl With Soft Tofu Stew
  2. Mori-Nu Silken Soft Tofu You can use tofu to try out two different shrimp recipes such as stir-fried shrimp, shrimp scampi. And we assure my friend, you won’t be disappointed.    
    That’s not all-

However, if you don’t like tofu that much, check out the next vegan shrimp substitute.

Replace Shrimp with King Oyster Mushroom

You can totally make vegan shrimp by using king oyster mushrooms. These mushrooms are not only soft and crunchy similar to shrimp. But they are also healthier than shrimp. 

Hence, they’re great for people that are concerned about their diet. 

And it’s super easy to cook/prepare these. All you need to do is cut them properly. 


First, you’ve to cut the mushroom into scallop sizes. Then cut the circular scallops into the shape of shrimps. And voila- you’ll get small shrimps. 

After that, you can deep fry these mushrooms. Or even stir-fry them instead of shrimps. 

How About Sweet Potato?

To make your sweet potato taste like shrimp, there is a bit work needs to be done. Start with preparing sweet potato puree and combine it with a small amount of vegetable oil, garlic powder, and paprika to taste. Next step is add gluten flour to the mixture in order to reach a dough-like consistency and smooth texture. 

Then, flatten the dough and cut it into strips that are half an inch thick and two inches long. To bring this vegan shrimp a hint of true shellfish flavor, put together a broth by mixing water, salt, and seaweed. To cook this sweet potato vegan shrimp, put the strips in the chill broth and let them come to a boil. Leave it on medium heat for around 30 minutes and when it is cooked, it will float. 

The Perfect Vegetarian Shrimp Substitute

Yup, you can get shrimp-like taste, texture, and appearance by using only one option. Let’s quickly check that vegan option out, shall we?

Fake Shrimp


In the modern age, people can easily get vegan versions of every food. To be honest, it’s pretty interesting. And just like other foods, you can definitely buy a vegan fake shrimp. 

This fake version of shrimp is exactly like the real shrimp. It contains the same taste, texture, and look. This type of fake shrimps is also known as plant-based shrimps. Because they are made from mostly algae (aquatic plants) and other aquatic plants. 

The whole making process is also environment friendly. Therefore, buddy, there’s no need to worry. Just grab yourself some fake shrimp! 

Top Non-Vegetarian Substitute For Shrimp

Now, after the vegetarian options, let’s take a look at a few great options for non-vegetarian ones. To be honest, there are plenty of shrimp alternatives for a non-vegetarian person.

What to Choose If You’re Allergic to Shellfish?

Shellfish allergy isn’t a new thing. In the U.S., almost 7 million people have this very allergy. So, you’re not alone. 

One will show the symptoms of this allergy only after consuming shrimps, crabs, or lobster. And the symptoms are itching, swollen lips, lightheadedness, etc.  

However, someone allergic to shellfish can eat scallops, clams, and mussels. Still, it’s better to follow the advice of the doctor. 

Now, because of this allergy, your vegan options can narrow down a bit. But fear not! We’ve discussed the best ones-

Make Use of Chicken Meat


Chicken is one of the best options for shrimp substitute. It has the same kind of firm and meaty texture to it just like a shrimp. 

Now, it’s better if you work with the chicken breast. After taking the chicken breast,  you’ve to cut it into bite-sized pieces. For recipes like scampi, stir-fry, lemon butter shrimp, you can easily switch to chicken

Just remember to cook it until the meat is tender. The cooked chicken meat should look white and juicy. Otherwise, you won’t have the exact texture as shrimp.

Get Some Firm White Fish

Now, people with shellfish allergies aren’t allergic to other fish. So, you can most certainly use firm white fish as a good substitute for shrimp.

You can use pollock, cod, halibut, and so on instead of shrimp. These fishes have a similar firm texture to them. However, keep in mind, not all firm white fish taste the same. 

For example, pollock does have a fishy taste to it. On the other hand, halibut has a sweet and mild taste. As for cod, it has a milky taste. Furthermore, cod is a bit more savory and firmer. 

Therefore, it’s up to you to decide which kind of firm fish you want to use. 

Good Substitutes for Similar Taste & Texture

It’s time to get out of the ‘shellfish allergy’ bubble. 

As you know, shrimp has a sweet, savory taste along with a firm, moist, crunchy texture. Thus, let’s explore the various options you’ve in your hand according to that. 

Try Out Crayfish/Crawfish



If you’re non-vegetarian and shellfish allergy-free. Then the first option you’ll think of might be crayfish/crawfish.                                       

Well, crawfish has a similar salty taste to shrimp. To be more specific, it has both a slightly salty and sweet taste. The taste is more like a mixture of crab and shrimp. The texture is also kinda same. 

As a result, you can certainly use crawfish in your shrimp recipes, they will work well. For example, you can use crawfish as a substitute for a shrimp cocktail

Take Advantage of Scallops

Scallops are well known for having a firm and soft flesh. They also have a mild sweet flavor. And these qualities make them a very good substitute for shrimp. Perfectly cooked scallops have a butter-like texture to them accompany with the popular lemon butter sauce. 



To get that texture, you should cook them till they reach the ideal internal temperature. Which is 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit

Overcooked scallops will never have the texture or taste of a shrimp. Thus, use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. Just how you check the internal temperature to make sure tough corned beef is fixed.

Now, it’s kinda hard to search for a thermometer that works perfectly in every situation. That’s why for you, we’ve picked some good quality thermometers-

  1. Habor 022 Meat Thermometer
  2. ThermoPro TP08S Wireless Digital Meat Thermometer

Moreover, scallops can be used in seafood dishes recipes such as deep-fried, stir-fried, jumbo, butter lemon shrimp, etc. 
Therefore, use the thermometer to avoid messing up the texture of scallops.

Use Lobster Tail or Crabmeat 

Lobster and crab meat aren’t the same. Yet, both can be a great replacement for shrimp. Lobster meat is a little bit more similar to shrimp. Because lobster meat has a sweet taste to it just like shrimp. 

The meat of the lobster tails is mushier than the other parts. This is why the lobster tails are a better pick.



On the contrary, crabmeat is a little heavier and less sweet. Crabmeat is a bit flakier as well. If you want to use crab meat as a substitute it’s better to go for the leg meat. Why? 


Well, it has the exact same firm and moist texture as a shrimp. The taste is also fresh and sweet. Thus, if you want to cook shrimp soup without shrimp. Then definitely add some crab leg meat in the soup. 

Utilize Monkfish

Monkfish might not be a white fish but it does have that firm texture. On top of that, monkfish taste slightly sweet. Therefore, it can be easily said that monkfish is an easy substitute for shrimp. 


Now, you can stop using shrimp in curries. And instead, cook the curry with monkfish. Monkfish can also be used in other shrimp recipes.

Substitutes that Have Similar Appearance

Only a few substitutes can look the same as a shrimp. Apart from the plant-based fake shrimp, there are two more options. However, if you’re allergic to shellfish, it’s best to stick to the plant-based one. 

Shrimp Version Of Imitation Crab/Surimi

If you didn’t know, surimi is actually the Japanese name of imitation crab.

Surimi is made of minced fish paste. Most of the time the paste is made by using the fish named ‘pollock’. Yup, the one you saw on the ‘firm white fish’ segment. Even though it’s made from fish, it kind of tastes like crab. Why? 

Well, because of the seasonings and all. After adding the seasonings, surimi gets a sweet flavor. Which can be also compared to the flavor of a shrimp. But hey did you know? 

You can actually find a shrimp version of surimi. So yeah you don’t have to put much effort or time to come up with something else. 



Don’t Underestimate Langostino Tails

Lastly, langostino tails are the most preferred choice for shrimp substitute. Because they are similar to the appearance, texture and taste like shrimp. Langistino is a Spanish word meaning prawn but it commonly refers to the meat of the squat lobster. 

We definitely recommend langostino tails for a non-vegetarian and non-allergic person. 



Langostino tails are often an inch long. The taste of the tail is sweet. It gives a delicate feel to your mouth when eating. Just like how a shrimp would’ve given. 


You can use langostino tails in any of your shrimp recipes without any doubt. Trust us, you’ll enjoy your meal for sure!

By the way, langoustine or Norway lobster is also another amazing substitute.


Can I substitute chicken for shrimp?

Yup, you can. Most people use chicken breast as it has a firmer texture like shrimp. Remember to cut the breast into bite-sized pieces. Otherwise, the meat might get tough while cooking.

What is a good shrimp substitute for allergy?

Well, if you’re a vegetarian, you’ve options like tofu, oyster mushrooms, and fake shrimp. But if you’re a non-vegetarian, you can use chicken or any firm white fish. 

What is a substitute for shrimp stock?

You can easily substitute vegetable or chicken broth for shrimp stock. Any seafood or firm fish stock will also do the work.


So, that’s all we had on a substitute for shrimp for you. By the way, you can also use octopus, squid, clams as alternatives. Because they have a similar texture to shrimp. 

Now, did you find the right substitute for shrimp? 

If you did, don’t forget to let us know by leaving a comment. And lastly, stay safe and healthy!

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